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Am I a Green Liberal or a Liberal Green?

September 13, 2017 10:52 AM
By George Miles in GLD Challenge Magazine (Summer 2017)

George Miles, Lorraine Chatwin and Nick Clegg (dicegeorge.com)Am I a Green Liberal or a Liberal Green?
Sorry, the snap general election this Spring 2017 caught me by suprise, I didnt do as much as I should have, I'd just stripped a critical section of slates off my roof, and had a cold. I delivered leaflets locally in Herefordshire, but the Greens refused to stand down in Hereford South, and the Libdems to stand down in Hereford North. All four candidates were good liberal pro-european women who would have made better MPs than the two Tory Etonian who got in. Maybe Theresa May knew that there were talks of Progressive Alliances to counter the unfair electoral system and so called the election early.

But every time a Libdem says 'we are the only party who oppose brexit' or 'the only party who support voting reform', or 'the only party who decide our polices by one member one vote' etc it pisses me off because the Green Party also do these things. And it must also piss off all Green party members, belittling them, and makes them think all Libdems are liars, and makes cross party progressive alliance less likely. As when Labour belittle the Libdems. The Libdems and the Greens have so much in common. Yes I wish the founders of the Ecology party had instead joined the Liberals, we have so much in common, but they didn't.
Their constitution begins:

"In these principles we assert the interdependence of all life, and the role of the Green movement in establishing appropriate relationships in this web of interdependence. While respecting the human person, we recognise and celebrate our interdependence with other species. We oppose the destructive processes which are destroying our planet. We favour a balanced and sustainable system of production and utilisation of resources, keeping account of real costs. The task before us is to transform the vision of continued viable life on earth into reality."

But environmentalism is not just an issue for one party - if we leave it until the Greens get a majority at Westminster then the planet will be burnt.

Some of my friends from the Young Liberals are now in the Green party, as are many of my friends from Reclaim the Streets and the Stonehenge Campaign. My heart is with the Greens, my head with the Libdems.

The tribalism where Libdems delight in knocking Greens to third place, and vice versa, is not for me.

All parties are a compromise - I doubt if there's even one Libdem who truly supports every word of every policy voted on by conference, or formulated by our MPs, Peers and MEP. We don't expect to, nor do we expect to agree with every idea of our 'Leader', or for him (or her) to agree with every policy of conference. It must be possible for a LibDem leader to be a Christian, or a Muslim, or an Atheist, please!

But generally I agree with the attitude and direction of the Libdem party, so I'll stay.

The preamble to the Libdem constitution begins:

"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives."

I agree with that, and with the Greens' principles.

George Miles (GLD Exec ordinary member)

(Note: this was published in the Summer 2017 GLD Challenge magazine, with one typing mistake, 'leomisnter South' instead of North )